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Theater

A Gift of Theater in Torrington

This Saturday, Elizabeth Erwin and Ed Walsh of Fifth Letter Productions will perform a reading of O. Henry’s touching tale of love and sacrifice, “The Gift of the Magi,” at the Warner’s Nancy Marine Studio Theatre in Torrington, CT.
Erwin and Walsh performed “Last Train to Nibroc” in Nutmeg Ballet’s former studio in Torrington on Water Street last July.
The reading begins at 8 p.m., Dec. 17. Admission is canned or packaged food for the local food pantry.
For information, call 860-489-7180.

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Taking the Sweet With the Bitter

Theater: ‘The Santaland Diaries’
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David Sedaris tells us he’s 33 years old, yearning for a soap opera spot on TV, just $20 away from walking dogs and is so desperate he’ll take a job at Macy’s as a Christmas elf, if he can get it.

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Christmas, British Style, And an Interesting Marriage

Theater Scene
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The British panto (short for pantomime) has rules. Strict ones: Ties to children’s stories are essential; current events must be alluded to; some of the jokes should be a tad smutty; good must triumph over evil; the audience must participate. And it has to be fun. And funny.
Once again, The Ghent Playhouse panto, a production of the Panto-Loons, egged on by the very witty and very British (even though she has lived here for 52 years) Judy Staber, brings the novel holiday treat to American audiences, titled this year “Menagerie à Trois.”

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Stirring up Ideas. . .

Theater

“James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Eric Satie: An Alphabet,” is a play as dizzying as the teacup ride at Disney World.
It is a rarely performed piece by the American avant-garde composer, John Cage, that is being staged at Bard’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts Nov. 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. It is in honor of the fourth year of the John Cage Trust at Bard College.

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Courage in the Quiet

Theater: ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’
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Rhinebeck’s Performing Arts Center, flooded out of business by Irene, reopened last weekend with a sober and sometimes witty “Diary of Anne Frank.”
Most people know about the Frank family and four other Jews, who hid together in cramped and mean quarters in Amsterdam to evade the Gestapo for more than two years. They had to speak in whispers, creep barefooted and refrain from using the the toilet during the day so workers below them would not know the annex was inhabitated.

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Still Memorable, After All These Years

Theater: ‘Dial M for Murder’
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The trailer says, “a movie you will never forget.” That was back in 1954, and the trailer was right. But “Dial M for Murder” started life in 1952 as a play by Frederick Knott (who seems to have obsessed on vulnerable women — he wrote “Wait Until Dark” as well). It’s smart, tidy and very British: all good reasons to roll it out at the Ghent Playhouse for those who remember “Dial M” fondly, if not particularly well.

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Complications, Always

Theater: ‘The Glass Menagerie’
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Because tropical storm Irene flooded The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, last month, heaping great losses in costumes, sets, equipment and sold seats on this community theater space, the Centerstage production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” was moved to Kaatsbaan in Tivoli, NY.
Kaatsbaan, of course, is for dance; not plays. The stage is wide and deep, leaving the four actors marooned in a sea of darkness.
Which worked quite well, as it turned out. For this is a dark play about four trapped people, impoverished, desperate and defeated at every turn.

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War of the Sexes, . . . And of the Worlds

Theater Scene

You have to ask, watching Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” why do Nick and Honey stick around for this blood bath? For that matter, why does the audience stick around?

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Courageous Theater

Theater: 'Mary Stuart'
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It’s a bold move for a community theater to take on “Mary Stuart,” a 19th-century play by Friedrich Schiller about two 16th-century queens, Elizabeth I and her murderous cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, battling for England’s throne.
It is a bold move because this is not a natural draw like recent productions of “Blithe Spirit,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Over the River and Through the Woods.” And it is a bold move most particularly because it must have two savvy and risk-willing actors in very demanding roles that got raves on Broadway. Recently.

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Recalling Old Sorrows, And Overcoming Them,

Theater: ‘Shakespeare for My Father’
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Lynn Redgrave was barely noticed by Sir Michael Redgrave. The actor. Her father.
In “Shakespeare for My Father,” a play Lynn Redgrave wrote about growing up in this illustrious theater family, she searches her father’s journals after his death, particularly the ones from 1943, seeking notice of her birth.
No notice taken.

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